This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
Avianca on Friday said it would resume international flights starting September 28, some ten days after Colombia’s transport ministry announced plans to lift the country’s international travel ban imposed in March. The airline plans to launch service to 16 destinations, the first of which would connect Medellin with Miami and New York on Monday. Further service from Bogota will start on October 1, connecting Colombia’s capital city with Guayaquil and Quito, Ecuador, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Miami, and New York. Plans call for another service to start to another 10 cities on October 15.
The company said it will resume operations to each city after coordinating with the aeronautical authorities on available airport slots, different operating authorizations, network review, and adaptation to demand. The airline added that it set its schedule to give Avianca customers enough time to meet Covid-related requirements such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for the destinations that require it.
The initial fleet for the international operation will total 34 aircraft, including Airbus A319s, Airbus 320s, and Boeing 787s. The airline noted the fleet has undergone preventive maintenance checks to protect its general condition and ensure availability.
“This start of operation implies keeping up the guard since self-care is still key,” said Avianca CEO Anko van der Werff. “On our side, you can be sure that the biosecurity protocols are the strictest and that the priority is to take care of our clients and our crews. This new start will be gradual, we hope to give you more good news about our network soon.”
Colombia requires that passengers entering the country must show a negative result of a PCR test administered no earlier than 96 hours from departure. Departing passengers will undergo temperature checks while all passengers must wear facemasks during all stages of their trips. If the flight lasts more than two hours, passengers must change their masks at least once.